The Mass Line: A Study in Revolutionary Methods of Leadership and Work (Part 6)
The mass line is method of leadership and work which was most clearly developed by Chairman Mao Zedong of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It has been described as the ”concentrate[d]…correct ideas that the masses gain in everyday life.” Mao developed it into a coherent organizing methodology which has subsequently been applied by many revolutionaries since the Chinese revolution.
I firmly believe that the application of the mass line is something that must be fundamental to how revolutionary communists carry out any and all of their work, no matter whether it is in community development initiatives, the anti-imperialist and anti-war struggle, political prisoner and prisoner of war work or other progressive struggles.While the term mass line was first coined by the Communist Party of China during the revolutionary Mao period it has in fact been employed by every single successful revolutionary movement. Like the vanguard party and the united front its validity has been proven by this success.
Because of its importance to any successful revolutionary movement I have started a short series of posts that will continue over the coming days that feature articles written by prominent revolutionary thinkers and forces on the concept of the mass line. I began by going right to the source with Mao and followed up with the Communist Party of Peru, the Communist Party of the Philippines and then the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Thanks to the suggestions of some comrades we continued with the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and now will be really wrapping up with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
The CPN(M) is known worldwide for its fighting of a nearly successful People’s War in that Himalayan Kingdom. Eventually abandoning the revolutionary road for electoralism (and in the process merging with a number of smaller parties and becoming the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) the UCPN(M) has recently split, with its supposedly more revolutionary left-wing under comrade Kiran forming a new party, the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (not to be confused with the old CPN(M)). In the process they seemed to have taken most of the mass organizations affiliated with the Maoist party and have also vowed to restore their fighting force and relations with the Naxalite Movement of India. Only time will tell though whether this group turns out to be any more revolutionary than the centrist-rightist leadership of the UCPN(M).
This article comes from February 2001 when the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) held its Second National Conference. At this conference Chairman Prachanda (now recognized as the chief centrist force in the UCPN(M)) gave a major presentation entitled The Great Leap Forward: An Inevitable Need of History. This is the section of this report entitled On Party Mass-line.
On Party Mass-Line by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Acknowledging a renowned Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principle, “The People are the creator of history”, the Party has been developing total mass-line in accordance with the particular situations of Nepal. Synthesizing the historical process of general mass insurgency, the Party has laid emphasis greatly on organizing the aspiration of mass insurgency. It is revisionism to speak on mass mobilization and mass-line without a political purpose to seize state power by means of PW [People's War]. Virtually, revolutionary mass-line of our Party is inseparably joined with the tough ideological struggle against revisionism which talks on the so-called mass struggle on the basis of reformist demand revolving around the old reactionary state deeply rooted in the Nepalese Communist revolution. The revolutionary mass-line started to speed up only after the revolutionary line led by Comrade Prachanda was modified, adopted and established by the Unity Congress.
Development of this line inflicted forcefully upon the decade-old reformism that had been deceiving the masses by misusing mass insurgency and their aspiration for total change for ordinary reform or minor change in the form around the reactionary old state. This signified that the mass-line before the initiation of PW meant preparing for it and afterwards rendering service to it. In the context of developing Party mass-line the struggle against sectarian dogmatism, that devaluates the scientific truth “trust the general masses in any of the harsh hours and be in the midst of general masses” cannot be forgotten either. Due to the effort of grasping the Maoist assumption concerned with the mass-line in the deepest level, the Party has to face the isolation from people in none of the harsh moments. Hence the Party has been ever laying emphasis upon the assumption that right line exists always in the supreme cause of people and the line cannot be right unless it merges with the supreme cause of people.
The line of Party has been based on the dialectical inter-relation between preparing ground for launching of PW through mass struggle of mass mobilization and various forms, and more broadly mobilizing the masses through it Afterwards, and it has elevated to newer heights through stages of constant development. To seize the state power by revolutionary violence has become the main objective of people’s work set by the Party today. In accordance with this military organization of various levels has been the main form of organization and military actions at various levels the main form of struggle. Development process of armed masses as the main, subordinate and basic forces and the diversity of guerrilla actions elucidate it.
The Party has been laying emphasis constantly on the task of the development of people’s struggle and various people’s organization on the basis of various demands along with the development of this main form of organisation and struggle, as an important part of mass-line. The basic policy of the Party is to accelerate this process with an objective of organizing general masses. In this regard, in base areas proposed today mainly in Western region, the task of organising general masses in any of the organizations is being done as per need. For us, it is essential to urge constantly to put into practice the scientific assumption that “an organized general mass is the iron fort in the struggle against enemy”.
Assimilating the class reality of changeable definition of the people according to the nature of revolution, our another characteristic is to develop mass-line on the basis of class outlook. Accordingly, seizing the reality that the people of other classes of strata except feudal, bureaucratic and comprador capitalist class, are the masses in the present phase of NDR [New Democratic Revolution], pushing ahead the mass mobilization and building organization has become the basic task of the Party today. In this connection, organizing and revolutionizing the general peasants, mainly, poor peasants are to accept it to be of primary importance. The fact that historic launching and development of the PW and the process of organizing the general peasants including the poor ones have taken a qualitative speed can be easily noticed. The fact that peasants are the resource of main, subordinate and basic military force developed under the leadership of the Party and the base for their protection and development clarifies the role of peasants in NDR. The utmost important objective of the Party’s mass-line is to effectively organise and revolutionize the peasants by firmly grasping the historical fact that “none of the power in the world can stand in front of the united peasants’ uproar, and accept the directives of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism regarding the invincibility of the organisation of the poors”.
After the historic initiative of People’s War in Nepal, the glorious achievement advancing forward with surprising rapidity is the development of revolutionary women’s movement. The old state and its conductors have been entrapped into the whirlpool of surprise and terror by the impact left by People’s War on half portion of the population which is grinded doubly under class and gender exploitation-atrocities. The rapidity in the extension of rural peasantry women’s organizations, increasing series of higher records of devotion, dedication bravery and sacrifice revealed against enemies countrywide and mainly on the areas of struggle have guaranteed the victory of total People’s War and revolution. In comparison to males the higher resistance capacity of women against repression and atrocities of the enemy including sufferings, brutal tortures and rapes has explicitly displayed the miraculous power inherent in the women to rebel.
Assimilating more firmly the Marxist science that women’s participation is the measuring rod for the success of any great revolution in history it is another significant aspect of the Party’s mass-line to assist in elevating the process of revolt the consciousness of proletariat. The basic policy in this regard of the Party would be to march forward by grasping the historical reality that the new democratic and socialist norms and values may be set up only when patriarchal, feudal values, assumptions and norms including bourgeoisie values on family sex, marriage, personal property are demolished up to the root with participation of women in the revolution.
Serious studies of the development of the historical peculiarities of Nepalese Society and formulation of ethnic and regional policies on the basis of the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and their implementation is another important part of the Party mass-line. The guarantee of progress and emancipation of a great majority of total population victimized by exploitation, suppression, and discrimination of Hindu feudal “high” caste chauvinism of century-old reactionary state and deprived of economic, political, religious and cultural rights, is the objective of ethnic and regional policy of the Party. The honour and recognition of the right of suppressed nationalities to self-determination and the programme of the establishment of national autonomy clarifies the proletarian policy on it of the Party. It has already been stated that this policy expresses the characteristic of era imperialism and proletarian revolution about the fusion of proletarian revolutionary movement and ethnic liberation movement into each other in the peculiarity of Nepalese society. The policy which aims at developing fronts and organizations of the oppressed nationalities and regions, and guaranteeing their participation in the local and central new democratic states has been playing a role of historic importance and shall be doing so in making the gigantic part of Nepalese Society jump into the political process.
This policy represents the only scientific method to make millions of the suppressed nationalities including Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Tharu, Newar, Karnali Pradesh participate in the great journey of revolution. Highly evaluating the economic and political importance of the Terai, the Party is laying emphasis on the programme of regional autonomy for the Madheshee community as against the discrimination and oppression of old state. The Party offers high priority to involving Madheshee Community in revolution. Its historic importance lies in the development of Nepalese national unity against Indian monopoly capitalism. The Party is stressing on the policy to organize and revolutionize the Dalits, i.e. depressed community, who are the masters of basic labours and number more than 15% of total population, but most suppressed by the inhuman atrocities of old state, for a battle of equality and freedom. This is the speciality of our Party policy related to the Dalits to ensure their liberation and participation in the state with privilege.
After the initiation of People’s War, this part of the masses also has been rapidly advancing in the process of revolt. The Party intends to lay further emphasis on the necessity to put into practice more effectively the correct policies on the mass-line which it has developed in the Nepalese particularity.
Policies of the Party on students, workers, intelligentsia, teachers etc. elucidate another significant expression of revolutionary mass-line. The Party has been continuously urging to develop students’ movement as the conductor of radical change synthesizing the experiences of struggling traditions of young students in the revolutionary movements of all countries in general and in Nepalese history in particular. There has been the unforgettable role of the students’ front in the past both in preparing the nationwide ground for the initiation of People’s War and Afterwards in rendering its service to it. It has been the essence of the Party to advance in a planned and conscious way in the revolution the physical and mental situation of the young students who assimilate the new consciousness, necessity of change and the very essence of revolt in a most natural way. A week-long successful general strike recently called by students front proving the whole educational machineries of old state to be a paper tiger reveals its strength. Even now the Party feels the necessity to add more emphasis to advancing the task of students, front linking the preparation of future general insurrection and reserve force in constant development of People’s War. The specific indivisible relation between student and peasant throughout Nepal indicates the historical role students can play in the preparation of insurrection.
The Party has been developing the line of revolutionary workers movement during ideological struggle against trade unionist parliamentarianism and economic reformism in the trade movement. Because of the worker’s front has been, along with the revolutionary transformation, providing direct help in the process of People’s War right from the beginning. The strong trade unionist influence of reformism and dual relation of an overwhelming, majority of the workers in Nepal with rural agricultural system and modem productive system, it has not yet attained qualitative rapidity. The Party will render its special effort in advancing the worker’s front, like that of the students, too, by joining it with the preparation of future general insurrection.
The Party has been urging continuously for revolutionary transformation of the intellectuals and teacher’s front according to the political line and revolutionary idea. The essence of the Party’s policy is to assimilate the significant role of intelligentsia in revolution and struggle continuously against swaying and anarchic, individualistic character persistent in the intelligentsia as prepared by the old state. Prior to the historic People’s War, and even Afterwards, intelligentsia and teacher’s, front have been certainly playing important role. But in comparison to the needs, that is lacking greatly. The problem of proletarian revolutionary transformation is the main problem of development of this sort of front. The Party will lay emphasis on advancing these fronts effectively with that sort of transformation.
From the very beginning the Party is stressing on advancing cultural front as its another important organ of its mass-line. The Party attaches high importance to the publication and mainly the historic role played by cultural front through cultural groups and teams scattered throughout the country for the launching of the People’s War. That sort of cultural activities have directly contributed in involving millions of masses in the great process of revolution ideologically and emotionally. After the historic initiation of People’s War virtually, a huge cultural army has been developing today by means of continuous development of article, composition and publication of poets and actors at the central level and through waves of development of cultural teams and programme all over the country. The Party intends to urge the question of revolutionary transformation of the leadership of the fronts by learning a lesson from the experience of history and the teachings of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. With regard to the need of rapid development of People’s War, the Party gives primary importance to the development and publicity of novels, video or audio cassettes based on organizational consolidation, experience of the war. The experience has proved that if we manage property [properly?] the task of cultural front, qualitative progress shall be obtained in the preparation, ascending in another new height, of future general armed insurrection. And the Party will focus its attention in this direction.
The Party has assumed the expatriation of millions of Nepalese in search of jobs in India as a significant characteristic of Nepalese society. In fact, the success of Nepalese People’s War and revolution cannot be imagined if Nepalese dwelling in India are separated from it. Assimilating this reality in the Third Extended Meeting of Central Committee led by Com. Prachanda, the Party has mentioned the role of Nepalese dwelling in India relying on the strategic characteristics of the country. Nepalese front located in India has been playing the role of far reaching importance in the process of historic initiative of People’s War and Afterwards in its total development process. Nepalese front in India has made its contributions to the Party and People’s War with several important technical and organizational assistance and other activities such as organizing and revolutionizing the Nepalese people according to the spirit of People’s War, disseminating the People’s War of Nepal among the Indian people with an alliance of various solidarity parties, organisation and institutions, organizing protest meeting, demonstrations and other, resistance programmes against the state terror created by reactionary state, going back to the country for the activities like direct participation in the movements if needed. The Party will continue its endeavor in making it broader and effective along with the revolutionary transformation in the form of expression of Party mass-line. The Party para [sic] change has been urging continuously to organize YCL in the form of factory producing cadre to participate ideologically and physically in the process of revolution.
The Party has been attempting to make its own mass-line effective by development of various department, forum etc. along with the above-mentioned basic fronts, for the purpose of mass mobilization. Its positive result also has been established in the revolution. The Party policy of developing various departments, forums will continue according to the revolution.
In this connection, admitting the significant policy propaganda was the internal and external publications have to be made systematic. According to the new characteristics of the age, the Party will emphasis upon the management of the publication and propaganda more scientifically.
Thus, the Party has been developing Maoist mass-line to awaken, organize and revolutionize more masses in a faster and better ways, for the success of People’s War and revolution. Five Years experience has been inspiring this process to move forward from another height. No enemy of the world will be able to defeat us as long as the Party continues this revolutionary mass-line.
Posted on July 20, 2012, in Organizing, Revolutionary Theory and tagged Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, Mass Line, The Mass Line: A Study in Revolutionary Methods of Leadership and Work. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.